Every now and then you are reminded of why the classics are what they are . Victoria Sponge Cake is one of those recipes . So named after Queen Victoria , who was partial to the sponge cake with her afternoon tea . This simple recipe is not just for royalty , it pairs very well with afternoon tea to be had on a laid back Saturday afternoon . This batter based sponge recipe is easy to make and very similar to the pound cake recipes . Serve it plain with a dusting of sugar , make a sandwich with jam or as I have done here dress up with berries and whip cream for a special occasion .
Naked or semi clad cakes are in vogue now , and rightfully so . These cakes speak for itself . Simple ingredients , bold fresh flavors and not overpowered by sugar , when you serve something like this , there is little room for leftovers .
This sponge goes down the familiar path of equal amount of eggs, butter , sugar , flour by weight . I have given the volume measurements , and it should yield a good sponge as well . But I would urge you to consider weighing the ingredients especially when making larger quantity ..
Start with room temperature ingredients . Measure the butter and sugar into the mixing bowl . Use fine sugar , in a pinch powder sugar in the blender . Cream butter and sugar well . To this add the eggs one by one . After each egg is added beat well to incorporate . Scrape the sides down while beating . What wee are looking for here is a uniform batter .
As the eggs are incorporated the batter will look like above . Keep beating to add as much air into it as possible . Add the vanilla essence and beat till it is mixed in well.
Sift the dry ingredients – flour , salt and the baking powder- together . Sifting helps to blend the flour and baking powder evenly as well as to aerate the flours . This in turn helps create the classic spongy texture . Add the flours to the egg mixture .
If you are using a stand mixer , switch to low and use the paddle to slowly mix in the flours . But I would recommend using a spatula or wooden spoon . Use the wooden spoon to fold the the flour into the wet mixture using circular motions . We are looking for a smooth batter , slightly thick , with no dry flour pockets . If the batter feels more like a dough then add a couple tablespoons of milk to loosen it .
Divide the batter into 2 greased and floured 8″ cake pans . This is a thick batter and hence need to be spread using a spoon . Gently push the batter evenly to the sides and smooth the top . Do not worry about the small imperfections , as the cake bakes the batter will melt and spread out . Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 20 minutes . Alternately this can be baked as a single cake in a 10 ” pan . Adjust the baking times accordingly .
Check the oven 5 minutes before the baking time . If the top begins to brown pull it out immediately . When done a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean .
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes . Invert into a cooling rack and cool completely . If serving as it is , invert into a plate or cake base first and invert back onto the cooling rack to a void impressions on top .
While the cake is cooling , gather the berries . Make sure that all are even sized . Chop the big ones to bite size pieces . Here I have used about 3 cups in all . Sprinkle 2 Tbsp sugar on the berries , mix and set it aside for a while , at least for 30 minutes Alternately this can be done ahead of time and the berries can be refrigerated .
Take 1 C chilled whipping cream in a chilled bowl . Add 1/4 C powdered sugar and a drop of vanilla extract . Whisk well until still peaks form . Keep aside in the fridge until ready to frost .
Place 1 cake top side up on the serving platter . Trim the top if necessary . Spread the berries on top in a single layer . Scoop whipped cream on top of the berries . Spread a little using the back of a spatula or spoon .
Trim the top of the second cake if very uneven . Place it on top of the cream , top side down . Gently press down to distribute the cream filling evenly . At this point you can sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and leave it at that . Spread a couple more spoon fulls of cream on top and using a spatula to thinly coat the sides and top of the cake . Wipe of excess .
Add more berries to the sides and top as desired .
The best way to get the proportions right is to weigh the eggs first and weigh the other ingredients accordingly.
Have all the ingredients at room temperature before beginning make the batter .
Keeping the cake undisturbed during baking is important . Resist the urge to peek before 15 minute mark . In case of a single 10″ cake wait till 20 minutes at least .
Bring ingredients for the cake to room temperature .Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottoms of 2 circular 8" cake pans with parchment paper . Butter and flour the sides .Alternately butter and flour the bottom as well as the sides .
Sift the dry ingredients - flour , baking powder and salt - together .Cream the butter and sugar .Add eggs one by one , beating well to fully incorporate after each addition .Add vanilla extract and mix in .The mixture should be light and fluffy .
Using a wooden spoon or spatula fold in the dry ingredients . The batter should be thick but airy . If it feels more like a dough add a couple teaspoons of lukewarm milk to thin it .Divide into the prepared pans .Use the spatula to spread the batter evenly .
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes . Baking times vary .The cake is done when a tooth pick / tester inserted in the center comes out clean . The tops should be golden and the sides beginning to brown . Remove from the oven . Cool in the pan for 5 minutes , invert onto the cooling rack and cool .
Reserve a few berries for decoration . Cut the remaining into bite size pieces . Sprinkle 2 Tbsp granulated sugar on top and set aside .
Combine the heavy cream , powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whisk till stiff peaks form . If the weather is warm , chill the mixing bowl and whisk ahead of time .
Sandwich the cakes by putting a layer of berries and cream between . Spread a thin layer of cream on top and all around . Arrange the remaining berries on the cake and serve .